Finance Strategists: Interview with CEO of SALT Justin English

Introduction

Success leaves clues.

Finance Strategists sat down with Justin English, CEO of SALT Lending. He shared his thoughts on the past, present, and future of the company, as well as the insight he has gained from running the business.

Who is Justin English?

Q. Who are you and what’s your background?

I’m Justin English. I joined SALT as CEO in May 2020. Prior to my role as CEO, I was first and foremost an early customer and investor in SALT and began consulting for the company and serving on its board in fall of 2019.

Before joining SALT and entering the crypto space, I spent more than 15 years across the private equity, early stage venture capital, consumer products, supply chain, manufacturing, distribution, and consumer services industries.

An entrepreneur at heart, I’ve been personally invested with capital and have spent my career understanding business drivers to influence implementation in the real world, which has aided me in my ability to serve as an advisor to early-stage organizations as well as those that are growing and scaling.

Q. Who has been your biggest influence, and why did they have such a significant effect on you?

My college economics professor had a significant impact on my ability to think critically and bring insight into a discussion. Before each class, we were all expected to read The Economist and be prepared to discuss that week’s issue of the magazine. Our entire grade was based on these discussions and the insights we produced throughout them.

The exercise taught me to pay close attention to the nuances of the story or issue being discussed and formulate intelligent, thought-provoking questions as a result. I learned to identify the most common assumptions on which people would base the discussion and then question and poke holes in those assumptions. I’ve leaned on this tactic throughout my career and still use it today, as it always makes people stop and think, resulting in a more insightful discussion overall.

Q. Knowing what you know now, what advice would you have given your younger self?

I was extremely stubborn when I was younger and set on learning in my own way, through my own failures. If I could give one piece of advice to my younger self, it would be to use my resources and learn from the achievements and failures of those who came before me rather than repeat their mistakes and failures purely out of stubbornness.

Business

Q. What is SALT Lending?

SALT is a fintech company with a focus on crypto assets. Our mission is to build products that increase access to financial opportunities and give people more control over their ability to generate long-term wealth.

The first to offer crypto-backed lending, we accept crypto assets as collateral for cash loans, enabling crypto holders to get value out of their assets without having to sell or rely on the traditional banking system.

Aside from our lending product, we are excited about the upcoming launch of the SALT Card — a crypto-backed credit card that will allow customers to borrow against their crypto assets and use their crypto for everyday purchases without having to spend any of it, all while earning crypto rewards with every purchase.

Q. What makes SALT Lending different from its competitors?

SALT is different from our competitors in three key areas: the combined experience within our team enables us to continuously improve operational processes and make space for innovation; our management team and our ability to build and invest in value-creating technology (SALT Stabilization, StackWise, our Loan Management System, trading execution platform); and the fact that we’re leaning into transparency and compliance and have been a publicly reporting company since early 2021.

From a customer perspective, we often stand out for our customer service, as SALT customers love knowing that at any point, they can speak to a real person who can walk them through any issues they’re experiencing or answer any questions they may have.

Q. What led you to join SALT Lending?

Having started as an early investor and SALT customer back in 2017, I was among the first to ever hold a crypto-backed loan and explore SALT’s platform. I experienced the benefits and pain points of the product first-hand and later joined the Board of Directors, which enabled me to provide feedback on the technology and product offerings and offer guidance on what improvements could be made.

I continued to be a customer throughout my engagement with SALT and took on the role of CEO in 2020 with the intent to improve our lending product and expand our product suite to provide greater value for our customers.

Since becoming CEO at SALT, my goal has been to create products that incentivize people to develop strong financial habits that will enable them to build generational wealth– the SALT Card is the first manifestation of this goal, as we seek to take the traditional concept of credit and disrupt it.

With this product and future products, we want to change the way people think about debt and credit and empower them to move from building up “bad debt” to generating wealth simply by developing better habits and getting more value out of the assets they already own.

Q. What has the experience of building the business taught you?

While I’ve learned a lot from building the business at SALT, some of the greatest things the journey has taught me are leadership and softer skills, which I’ve come to realize are way more important than I’ve previously given them credit for.

Aside from that, I’ve learned the importance of pragmatism when it comes to making business decisions. I’ve seen so many peers fall into the trap of becoming too emotionally invested in something to the extent that the sunk cost bias clouds their judgment and creates a tunnel vision mindset.

I’ve always been a pragmatic person, but my experience as an entrepreneur and my current role as CEO at SALT have helped hone my ability to compartmentalize and look at things from different angles. I make a conscious effort to take a step back and look at problems from a really plain, simplistic view.

For me sunk cost equates to learning, not failure. In leading a business I’ve learned that when it comes to problem-solving and decision-making, you have to invest time and energy and take note of the process and the journey as you go along.

With this mindset, I’m able to emotionally detach from the investment itself and look at it not as a sunk cost, but as a necessary process that has enabled me to make more informed, objective, and sound decisions.

Q. Where do you see things headed for you and the company in the next five years?

As crypto becomes more widely adopted and emerging businesses continue to challenge the traditional financial system, we want to help consumers achieve financial freedom by shifting the way they think about credit and wealth.

The traditional system does not set consumers up for financial success. In fact, it does the opposite, as it is structured in such a way that encourages the accumulation of “bad debt” and borrowing against future income to enable living outside of one’s means.

Once consumers fall into this trap, it’s extremely hard for them to get out of it and it becomes cyclical. We want to fundamentally change the way people think about their finances by educating them and building products like the SALT Card that incentivize good habits like saving and building generational wealth.

Note: This article was originally published on Finance Strategists.

SALT Announces Justin English as Chief Executive Officer

We’re excited to announce that Justin English has been named chief executive officer at Salt Blockchain Inc., parent company to SALT Lending. Co-presidents Rob Odell and Dustin Hull, who have been working together for the past six months to fill the CEO role and onboard English, will remain co-presidents and will continue to support SALT in their respective roles as chief product officer and chief financial officer.

English brings more than 15 years of senior management and board experience across the private equity, early-stage venture capital, consumer products, supply chain, manufacturing, distribution, and consumer services industries. Having founded three companies, he has extensive entrepreneurial experience with a specific focus on capital raising, financial modeling, and developing go-to-market strategies.

In addition to these areas of expertise, English currently serves as co-managing partner of First Catalyst Ventures, a US-based alternative investment firm focusing on early stage B2B technology companies. He also brings several years of board member experience to his new role, having previously served on several non-profit boards and on the board of SALT. Currently, he serves on the board of a non-profit private school as well as on the board of Elite Mining Inc., a crypto mining operation focused on clean energy and green mining.

Appointed to SALT’s board of directors in October 2019, English immediately did a deep dive of SALT’s talent, partnerships, brand, product offerings, and everything in between to determine the company’s potential. He began thinking about the ways in which it could grow and scale, and in doing so, played a significant advisory role in guiding SALT’s executive team in its decisions throughout his time on the Board. “It became evident that Justin was a natural fit for the CEO role,” said Joe Perry, chairman of SALT’s Board of Directors. “He has a strategic mindset and a proven ability to identify, understand, and execute on the necessary actions that will lead SALT to success.”

English has been a serial entrepreneur throughout his entire career and has extensive experience working with start-ups. This experience was a major factor in his decision to accept the role as chief executive officer. “I’m excited to take on this challenge for a couple of reasons, the first being that SALT is a start-up and start-ups are what I know,” said Justin English, chief executive officer, SALT.

“Second, SALT is well-positioned to challenge the conventional ways of thinking about finance — that’s something I’m really passionate about because so many of us go through life making decisions that have been historically viewed as correct, when in reality there’s so much more we can be doing to build and preserve our own wealth. With that in mind, I want to take this opportunity to build something that not only helps our customers lead better financial lives, but that gives our team a sense of purpose regarding the work they’re doing each day.”

With the addition of English as chief executive officer, SALT’s executive team now consists of six members: Dustin Hull as chief financial officer; Rob Odell as chief product officer; Dirk Anderson as chief technology officer; Alex Fader as chief legal officer; and Debra Johnston as chief people officer.

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Questions about our products and offerings? Contact [email protected]

SALT CEO Bill Sinclair responds to Binance delisting

Binance announced yesterday that it delisted SALT Memberships from its asset exchange. Binance’s announcement and action came as a surprise to SALT as we did not receive any information requests or opportunity to refute the inferences in Binance’s announcement. SALT adamantly objects to Binance’s announcement which provides the basis for which it delists a token but does not make any specific allegation against the list of companies, thus creating false negative implications.

Binance has not requested any information from SALT to enable Binance to make a decision relating to its now publicly listed criteria and acted irresponsibly in insinuating that any of the criteria is true of SALT.

SALT would like to take the opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to you, our products, and the blockchain industry. We sell SALT Membership units and offer refunds when they are purchased directly from us and not removed from our platform. This has been the preferred method of buying our Membership units since inception. A number of exchanges, including Binance, have made hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees by reselling our Membership units. SALT has never profited directly from any third party exchange activities. SALT Membership units have always been the primary vehicle for utility on our platform and we are committed to the expansion of this utility as our business grows. Today there are millions of SALT Membership units held on our platform by thousands of members.

SALT is a team of over 70 passionate, dedicated employees and professionals around the globe. We are proud to have the best customer support team in the business responding to phone, email and social media requests around the clock. Among our many employees is our talented and dedicated team of developers who have committed over 18,277,688 lines of code across dozens of software services in the year 2018 alone.

Additionally, SALT is continually enhancing its communication and today operates through a number of public channels including the following:

SALT has not and does not engage in fraudulent or unethical activity nor have we suggested publicly, without evidence or context, that any other company has done so. Binance never responsibly contacted SALT regarding any due diligence inquiries.

SALT is committed to responsible business practices. We pride ourselves on engaging with our customers, partners, regulators, and the media when it comes to requests for information.

We are dedicated to advancing blockchain technology and to building a healthy and sustainable crypto ecosystem. Two of our co-founders serve as members and advisors to groups that share a similar goal. These include the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Colorado Council for the Advancement of Blockchain Technology, created by Governor Hickenlooper. Additionally, we are an active member of The Digital Chamber of Commerce and frequently sponsor events that drive awareness and adoption of blockchain technology globally such as the Asia Blockchain Week, North American Bitcoin Conference and ETHDenver.

At SALT, we define success not by the number of exchanges on which we are listed, but by our efforts to help shape this new economy. We remain focused on product development and driving awareness and adoption of blockchain technology. Our goal is to provide our customers with the products and services they need to participate in the blockchain space. One of our core values, integrity, is matched only by another of our core values, grit. We will continue to work tirelessly to deliver outstanding products and services, and will not be moved off that mark by anyone, for any reason.

Thank you for your continued support, as together we remain focused on building a successful software services and lending enterprise.

Bill Sinclair

Interim President & CEO and Chief Technology Officer

SALT

Honored, But Not Distracted

As many are aware, I recently took on the position of President and CEO of SALT. And, while you’ll hear more from me in the coming days regarding the exciting developments here at SALT, I felt it was important to take a moment and address some rumors and speculation in the marketplace.

Recently, SALT has received a number of marketing inquiries showing interest in buying our business. While we appreciate our competitors’ interest in our purpose and business model, our company is not for sale, nor are we seeking any M&A (mergers and acquisitions) activities.

There are strong opportunities squarely in our sights, and all of us at SALT are excited to continue and execute our business plan. We are fully focused on enhancing our products for stakeholders, including investors and borrowers, and building a strong employee base to ensure we continue bridging the gap between crypto holders and conventional financial systems.

With over $50 million in loans serviced to date, a user base of over 70,000, and active loans in 3 countries, the community should rest assured that SALT remains strong and is dedicated to improving its products, services, and availability.

Until next time,

Bill Sinclair
Interim President & CEO
Chief Technology Officer

Getting to Know SALT’s Interim President and CEO Bill Sinclair

As SALT approaches its upcoming announcement, this is a great time to get to know interim President and CEO Bill Sinclair. Bill brings more than 20 years of experience in software and technology development, and will apply that know how to SALT’s future as a visionary fintech company with a strong focus on security and scalability.

Bill led technology strategies at fast-growing companies in the financial services, energy and Internet of things (IoT) industries. As CTO of Cartasite, an industrial IoT company, he enhanced and expanded the company’s product development team. Prior, Bill led the growth and acquisition of MineralFile.

“I’m looking forward to building a bridge of continued innovation between traditional financial services and blockchain,” Bill shared. “It’s been a pleasure to work with such smart and dedicated people, and we’re just getting started.”

Bill has been a believer in the potential of blockchain technology for some time, and became very engaged with bitcoin in 2014. He first got into mining using an ASIC Miner he purchased on eBay. “I could only run it at night,” Bill laughed. “It made a ton of noise. You couldn’t even have a conversation in the same room with it.”

His interests have not been exclusively focused on blockchain. Bill has a strong philanthropic core, having served as a board member of We Don’t Waste, a food waste related charity organization founded in 2009. “I feel like the underbanked and food insecure have a lot in common, with both suffering from a lack of access to resources,” said Sinclair. He also helped found the BroncosBus, a philanthropic endeavor which helped raise money for a number of local and national charities.

Bill is a native of Colorado and lives in the Denver area with his family and their three-legged St. Bernard, Molly (who lost one of her legs to a rare cancer). “I inherited her through marriage and was allergic to big hairy dogs, but she was determined to rid me of my allergy by sleeping on my head nightly. Turns out I’m not allergic to her anymore!”

SALT is proud to have Bill serving as Interim President and CEO, and looks forward to sharing more insights about those leading the charge of disruption.

SALT Announces Bill Sinclair, CTO as Interim President and CEO

At SALT Lending Holdings, Inc., our mission is to help holders of blockchain assets leverage them as collateral for cash loans. As part of that commitment, we continually evaluate the pairing of our leadership capabilities to the growth of our company to ensure that we have the right resources in place to serve our clients and community both now and in the future.

Today SALT appointed Bill Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer as interim President and CEO. Previously Sinclair led technology operations for several companies in various industries including IoT and financial services. Given SALT’s growth plans and market opportunity, Sinclair’s background will be a critical asset for future success. Assuming responsibilities from former CEO, Shawn Owen, Sinclair will run the day to day business operations of SALT. Owen leaves the company after serving as one of SALT’s Cofounders and CEO since the company formation in 2016.

Sinclair was an early adopter of blockchain technology and crypto currency. He has significant experience mining, programming, and developing technology solutions in the space.